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Topics addressed on November 28, 2007:
Satellite TV provider needs your SSN to check credit
Do you know of any way to get satellite television without giving them my Social Security number? They say it's for a credit check.
The satellite television provider, like many utility companies and cellular telephone service providers, reviews your credit report as part of its contract approval process. In order to get a copy of your credit report they need all of your identifying information, including your Social Security number.
A Social Security number is the only identifier that is unique to an individual in the U.S., so it is a very valuable identification tool. It helps Experian ensure that it matches the correct credit history information to you from among more than 230 million other people with credit histories.
The satellite television provider uses your credit history to verify your identity and to help it determine that you will pay the monthly service charge as specified in the contract. If you are having difficulty meeting your credit obligations, there is a very good chance you will be unable to pay the service fees. If you are paying your other bills on time, they can be confident you will pay your television bill on time, too.
Your credit history, along with your other application information, also may be used to decide whether or not a deposit is required before starting your service, and if so, how large the deposit will be.
You do not have to provide your Social Security number, but if you choose not to do so, the satellite television company may decline to provide service.
Thanks for asking.
- The "Ask Experian" team